“Do not be conformed to this world.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)
God has called us to a holy rebellion. We are commanded to be nonconformists to this world.
This “world” refers to the present evil age (Gal. 1:4) dominated by sin and Satan. The world shapes the spiritually dead into its own mold where they march in step with the world’s beliefs and practices. Unbelievers easily become followers as they live in conformity by “following the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2 ESV).
Like a powerful vise, the world squeezes people into the pattern that fits the spirit of this age. This mold is easy to spot: whether it be television, movies, music, advertising, advice columnists, results of latest studies, etc., they all repeat a unified worldview. Common beliefs include: 1) tolerance of what the Bible calls sin, 2) acceptance of the consensus of experts rather than biblical truth, 3) “follow your heart” as if you are your own god, and 4) live for today by consuming every new thing that comes your way.
The result of conforming to the world’s beliefs is conforming to the world’s behavior. Once a worldview is accepted, corresponding behavior is practiced. Common practices in the mold of this world include: 1) indulgence in any sinful practice that you like; 2) demanding that others live lifestyles according to the contemporary wisdom of the world; 3) freeing yourself from the shackles of biblical commands only to find yourself “following your heart” into the prison of sin, selfishness, and regret; and 4) consuming the world’s latest technology, products, and fads as the basis for enjoyment and fulfillment in life.
It’s a mad, mad world blazing a broad path to destruction. So many claim to be nonconformists, but they are the biggest conformists of them all. The world is a giant magnet, powerfully pulling every person from every walk of life toward its sinful system. This broad road may have many different lanes, but they are all heading in the same direction. The downward course of the world rushes like a mighty river forcing its followers downstream.
But Christians swim upstream. They are nonconformists. Their eyes have been opened to the lies of the world and they reject its sinful practices. They refuse to be squeezed into the mold of this present age.
Christians are rebels who walk the narrow path that leads to life. They are careful to discern good from evil within the world’s beliefs and practices. They hold a contrary worldview which is established on the truth of Scripture and belief in the Creator God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. They love God more than the world; they love Jesus more than sin; they love truth more than error; they love eternal life more than this fleeting life.
For Christians, nonconformity to the present world is a holy rebellion. This is no rebellion just for the sake of being rebellious. We are rebels with a cause. God has commanded us not to conform. We rebel for His glory.
In their rebelling nonconformity, Christians conform to a different mold:
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29 ESV)
This is what God has purposed us to be – rebels to the world and followers of Jesus. Live a life of nonconforming conformity. Reject the world’s squeeze into its mold and allow God to shape you into the image of Christ. Be a holy rebel with a holy cause.